Preserve The Harvest: Let’s Talk Sweet Potatoes

Preserve the Harvest: Let's Talk Sweet Potatoes PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: SWEET POTATOES

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every month with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…Sweet Potatoes.

LET’S TALK SWEET POTATOES

Let’s first clear up a common misconception many have about sweet potatoes…they are not yams. Although similar, sweet potatoes and yams come from two entirely different families. Sweet potatoes come from the morning glory family while yams are found to be more closely related to lilies and grasses.  

Sweet potatoes have a variety of colors. Their skins range in color from white to yellow, red to purple and brown. The inner flesh may be white, orange, yellow or orange-red. They are also classified into two categories; firm or soft. Those classified as soft remain soft after cooking and those classified as firm remain firm.

Another interesting note is that here in the United States most of the “yams” we buy are actually sweet potatoes but of the firm variety. Yams can be found but they are harder to come by. The large majority of yams come from Africa, so a good place to look for the real thing would be an international market.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes WHEN TO BUY 

Sweet potatoes are available most of the year but are harvested in Fall. Buy in October – January for best quality.

WHERE TO BUY

Sweet potatoes can be found in farmer’s markets, health food stores and supermarkets. Choose organic whenever feasible for best quality and taste.

HOW TO CHOOSE 

Choose sweet potatoes that are heavy for their size, free from soft spots, blemishes and sprouting eyes. Handle gently; sweet potatoes bruise easily.

HOW TO STORE

Do not put sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. It is best to store them in a cool dark place with plenty of ventilation. 50 degrees is the ideal temperature. If stored properly sweet potatoes may keep for up to 3 months. If proper storage is not obtainable, buy only what you can consume in a week or consider freezing your sweet potatoes to preserve the harvest.

HOW TO GROW

The Coastal Homestead has an informative step by step tutorial on growing sweet potatoes in 5 easy steps. If you are looking to grow your own, this is a great place to start. Click here—>How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in 5 Easy Steps

Sun Basket HOW TO FREEZE SWEET POTATOES

When freezing sweet potatoes it is good to take a moment and consider what uses you will be using your sweet potatoes for. Choose either the firm or soft variety depending on your specific need. For example; choose a firm variety for soups and stews or a soft variety for mashed and pureed dishes.

Choose good quality sweet potatoes that are similar in size and shape and scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly before cooking. There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes
 
There are several methods that can be used when cooking your sweet potatoes in preparation for freezing. Baking, boilings, steaming, or pressure cooking will all do the trick. Choose the method that works best for you.
Ingredients
  • Cooked sweet potatoes, partially soft
  • Lemon juice or orange juice
Instructions
Preparing Cooked Sweet Potatoes
  1. Allow sweet potatoes to cool completely. If not peeled, remove skins.
  2. Mash, puree, quarter or slice according to preference.
To Prevent Darkening
  1. If sweet potatoes have been mashed or pureed, stir in 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice to each quart of sweet potatoes.
  2. Dip whole, sliced or cubed sweet potatoes into a solution of ½ cup lemon juice to 1 quart of water.
Freezing
  1. Pack into containers leaving ½ " of room at the top of the container for expansion when frozen or vacuum seal as desired.
  2. Freeze.
Notes
Frozen sweet potatoes will maintain the freshest quality for 12 months or more depending on the packaging. Proper vacuum sealing may extend the storage time considerably.

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Resource links:

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries

National Center for Home Food Preservation

How to Freeze Sweet Potatoes shared with:

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop; Let’s Get Real Friday Party; FoodieFriDIYSavoring Saturday’s; Sunday’s Down UnderThe Mommy Monday Blog Hop; Tasty Tuesday: Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopThe Wednesday Round UpCreative Spark Link Party; Worthwhile WednesdaysCreate it Thursday; Let’s Get Real Friday Party

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 

Preserve the Harvest Series: How to Preserve and Store Pumpkin

How to Store and Preserve Pumpkin PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: HOW TO PRESERVE AND STORE PUMPKIN

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability!

Next up…How to preserve pumpkin… 

Read More »

Preserve the Harvest Series: How to Store and Freeze Hot Peppers

PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE HOT PEPPERS 

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability!

Next up…How to Store, Preserve and Freeze Hot Peppers… 

Read More »

Preserve the Harvest: Canning Apple Pie Filling

PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: CANNING APPLE PIE FILLING

Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money.  A sane approach to sustainability!

Next up…Apples and Canning Apple Pie Filling

LET’S TALK APPLES

Canning Apple Pie Filling WHEN TO BUY APPLES

Apples are available starting in mid- August with the Gala variety and continuing on in to late October with the later harvesting apples like Fuji. 

WHERE TO BUY APPLES

It is best to buy your apples straight from the source at an apple orchard or Farmer’s Market but not everyone has access to these sources for apples. The next best bet is at a whole foods type store that sells organic and pesticide free varieties. It is nice that some of the major markets are now keying in on the customer preference and offering more of a selection on organic produce. This can also be a great option.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST APPLES

Canning Apple Pie Filling There are many great varieties of apple, way too many for me to mention here; each with its own unique characteristics. Some apples are tart and excellent bakers, while others are sweeter and perfect for eating. I found a great chart that lists many different varieties, their characteristics and what they are used best for at Pick Your Own. This is one of my favorite resources when I am in need of a little information.

STORING APPLES FOR THE FRESHEST FLAVOR

If you’ve brought a few apples home to eat and want to keep them as fresh as possible, store your apples in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use the high humidity bin if you have one and keep the temperature at 40 degrees. Your apples will keep in this manner for several weeks.

If storing a large amount of apples it is best to store them in a cool, dry, dark, place. Handle your apples carefully to prevent bruising. Some recommend wrapping each apple individually with newspaper to keep them from touching. I personally don’t but it is up to you how particular you want to get. I do check my apples regularly to make sure none are spoiling. One bad apple WILL spoil the whole bunch! Also be sure to keep your apples away from potatoes. The gases emitted from the potatoes cause your apples to spoil more quickly.

HOW TO FREEZE APPLES

Freezing apples is simple. Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Place in a lemon juice bath of 1/4 cup lemon to 4 cups of water. Soak for a few minutes, remove slices and place in a heavy duty plastic freezer bag or vacuum seal. Label, date and freeze, that’s all there is to it. Apples should keep for a year or more. Vacuum sealing is the preferred method for longer lasting results.

CANNING APPLE PIE FILLING

Canning Apple Pie Filling EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES YOU WILL NEED

  • Water Bath Canner
  • Quart Jars with Lids and Bands – Just the right size for 1 pie.
  • Clear Jel  – a necessity for a thickener when canning any type of pie filling. Corn starch can be used in a pinch but in my experience the finished product is clumpy, with a chalkier taste. Clear jel is relatively inexpensive and works beautifully every time. I buy mine on Amazon because it is readily available there and can be hard to find in the regular supermarket.
  • Utensil Set  – Not absolutely necessary, but makes the job of canning a whole lot easier.
  • Large non- reactive pot 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Canning Apple Pie Filling
 
Recipe as is makes 7 pint jars. I like to make a combination of quart and pint jars for my needs throughout the year. I double the recipe and do just that.
Ingredients
  • 12 cups sliced peeled and cored apples, treated to prevent browning *see notes below
  • 2-3/4 cups unrefined cane sugar (granulated cane sugar can be substituted)
  • ¾ cup Clear Jel
  • 2-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 1-1/4 cups cold water
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • *Water and additional lemon juice to prevent browning of apples- See notes
Instructions
  1. Prepare canning jars, lids and bands as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Mix together sugar, Clear Jel, and cinnamon in a large stainless steel kettle. Stir in apple juice and cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
  4. Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture. Return apples to medium high heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.
  5. Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace.
  6. run a knife around apples to remove air bubbles.
  7. Wipe off the rim.
  8. Apply lid and band.
  9. Process in hot water bath for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.
  10. Remove jars and cool, checking for proper sealing in 24 hours.
Notes
To prevent browning of apples place slices in a solution of ½ cup lemon juice and 4 cups of water. Drain when ready to use.

Recipe adapted from Ball: Apple Pie Filling 

 Clear Jel can be purchased here at my Amazon Affiliate link

Canning Apple Pie Filling shared with:

Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays *April J Harris: Hearth and Soul *A Mother’s Shadow: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop *Far From Normal: Wake-Up Wednesday *A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventure: Tickle My Tastebuds *Crafty Wife: The Wednesday Roundup *The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your Pjs *Weekend Craft: Creative Spark *The Newlywed Pilgrimage: Moonlight and Mason Jars *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute  *Kneaded Creations: Tuesdays with a Twist *Living Well and spending Less: Thrifty Thursday *Recipes for our Daily Bread: Let’s Get Real *Kitchen Dreaming: The Weekend Social *Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Fridays *Lil Suburban Homestead: Farm Blog Hop *Natasha in Oz: Say G’day *Snippets of Inspiration: Weekend Wind-Down *3 Little Greenwoods:Show me Saturday *New Mama Diaries: Creative Style Link-up *2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday *My Creative Days: Happiness is Homemade *Houseologie: Link it or Lump it *Create with Joy: Inspire Me Monday *The Squishable Baby: Monday for Mom’s

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”